J. J. Brown, Wordslinger

"I Sling Words As I Go Along."


Sherlock Holmes

So, many years ago, I read Good Night, Mr. Holmes…..

…….a novel by Carole Nelson Douglas. It’s a re-telling of A Scandal in Bohemia, told from the point of view of Irene Adler’s companion, Penelope ‘Nell’ Huxleigh. Of all the novels written by various authors set in the Holmes-ian universe, I found these to be closest in spirit and tone to the original stories, while having its own voice and sense of humor.

There are eight titles in the series, of which I only have five (I know, a serious oversight that I am working to correct). Of these novels, two are closely related to the original story, A Scandal in Bohemia – Good Night, Mr. Holmes and Irene’s Last Waltz (it was later re-issued as Another Scandal in Bohemia in 1994).

Narrated by Nell in the same way as Holmes’ adventures are told by Doctor Watson, we follow Irene, Nell and their companions as they travel. Along the way, they meeting significant people of the time, such as Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker (the latter two of whom were contemporaries of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

Irene and company also find themselves involved in cases that remain a mystery today. In Chapel Noir and Castle Rouge, gruesome murders in Paris echo similar crimes that had occurred only months earlier in London, raising concerns that perhaps Jack the Ripper wasn’t finished. Nellie Bly, who helped Irene hunt down Jack the Ripper in those novels, later involves her in a case that delves deep into Irene Adler’s past.

It always seemed right that ‘The Woman’ would have her own mystery series, with Sherlock Holmes as a minor character. With the great detective enjoying a continued popularity in film, television and novels, it’s refreshing to step into that world and view it and him through the eyes of a villain, a friend, a nemesis, or a respected equal.

If you come across them, snatch them up and read. You’re truly in for a fun and exciting read.

The Irene Adler series, by Carole Nelson Douglas.
The Irene Adler series, by Carole Nelson Douglas.

Good Night, Mr. Holmes by Carole Nelson Douglas
Good Morning, Irene by Carole Nelson Douglas
Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminisit (A Biography) by Brooke Kroeger

Author website: Carole Nelson Douglas

So, I first encountered Sherlock Holmes……

…… the age of six, via an old black and white movie on Channel 5, starring Basil Rathbone as the famous detective and Nigel Bruce as his foil and confidant. I don’t recall the movie itself, just that it was black and white and the literary dynamic duo were off on a mystery to solve, but I was hooked. I mean, seriously hooked.

By the age of ten, I had read The Hound of the Baskervilles at least twice. I don’t know what happened to that copy – I probably read it to pieces. I had so many different copies of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books and short stories by various publishers that they were contained in one box. This includes the YA books that are similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure, but it’s basically Solve Your Own Mystery with Sherlock Holmes.

I’d seen Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Frank Langella, Nicholas Rowe and Jeremy Brett play the iconic detective. I loved each interpretation, unique to the actor bringing their vision of Holmes to life.

How big of a fan am I of Sherlock Holmes? Well, there’s this picture of myself and friends from high school on Halloween:

Vampire, monkey, Marilyn Monroe & Sherlock Holmes (me).
Vampire, monkey, Marilyn Monroe & Sherlock Holmes on the case.

I still own the deerstalker hat:

The infamous deerstalker hat.
The infamous deerstalker hat.

And I’m fulfilling a childhood dream of learning how to play the violin:

Still waiting patiently, the violin waits.
Patiently, the violin waits.

Watching Elementary (ABC) and Sherlock (BBC) with their modern interpretations of Holmes is both fun and interesting. Elementary, with Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, allow the stories to develop over a 22 episode season, while Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, have three ninety minute movies that are packed with detail and nuance. Both shows are worth watching over again, as there is always some detail one misses on the initial viewing, such as a bit of dialogue here or a visual there.

Robert Downey, Jr. brings Sherlock Holmes to life in the 19th century, haunting the foggy streets of London by hansom cab. Sir Ian McKellen, meantime, brings him into the 20th century as an older version of himself, fighting against memory loss and seeking to retain his own dignity.

I’m always intrigued by the various interpretations of this Victorian detective and how he has transcended that era to influence generations of readers, writers and more with his ability to deduce from the barest details the solution to any case presented to him.

I suspect there’s more to mull over on the subject of Sherlock Holmes, but deduce that it will take more than just one blog post to cover it.


Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Stories & Novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Mr. Holmes (2015) starring Ian McKellen
Teller of Tales: a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


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